Author: James Herbert
Page Count/Review Word Count: 482
This book is the third and final book in Herbert’s Rats series, although I think that there’s a graphic novel out there which continues the story a little more. To be honest, though, you don’t really need to read them in order, at least not from what I’ve seen. Each of them could be read as a standalone, although you’ll get a little more out of it if you do go from one to the other.
This one takes us back to the heady heights of the first book, making this rank up there amongst my favourite James Herbert books. Part of that is because there’s a freakin’ nuclear strike right at the beginning of it which really helps to set the scene for the rest of it. Nuclear stuff has always been a weird little pleasure of mine and so I was glad to see it getting the James Herbert treatment.
Herbert is also great at writing bleakness and gore, and so when he tackles literally millions of people being wiped out in a single swoop, it’s perfect for him. It’s unpleasant to think about, of course, but super enthralling to read about.
And then it just gets bleaker from there. With humanity on the back foot and forced to shelter below ground because of the nuclear fallout, another problem rears its ugly head and starts chowing down on people. The rats aren’t just immune to the nukes, they’re able to thrive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that was once called London.
And so the result is a book that combines great plotting with great characterisation and plenty of stuff to keep you awake at night, which is pretty much all you could want from a horror novel. Like I said, it ranks up there with Herbert’s best, and he’s one of those writers that you can always rely on for a decent read.
Just be warned that it’s going to leave you wincing every time you hear the scuttling of little feet, and you’re also going to want to start thinking about how you’d survive a nuclear attack. I’ve been thinking about that myself and I still have no idea. I suppose I’d have to barricade myself in my bathroom and hope for the best. At least it doesn’t have any windows and so they wouldn’t explode and cover me in broken glass.
I also don’t know what I’d do if I was attacked by a giant black rat. Even Biggie wouldn’t stand a chance against them. Rats in general don’t really bother me, but then Herbert writes about them in such a way that it would be enough to scare the pants off anyone. So if you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and read the Rats books. They’re all just awesome.